Day 39 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge, I really can’t believe there is only one day left! As I said before, I’ll post day 40 on Easter Day, however, if you have a story, in-between now and then, I will post it.
I often see sayings like the one crossed out above on sites like Facebook and Linked-in, and it always makes me a bit sad. I came across this version a few weeks ago (I think maybe a quote from Jay John, but it’s off the internet so not totally sure!) and thought it was brilliant and wondered if it may have an application for this blog…
Mental health can be really really hard to cope with. It also has a huge impact on those surrounding the person affected. In particular, I was thinking about how friends and family can struggle to find compassion when it matters most. It’s not that we are intentionally unkind or unfriendly, it’s just that with many of the more subtle mental health conditions, a person’s behaviour may be very difficult to cope with and often exasperating.
I even feel uncomfortable writing that, but it is true. For example, it can sometimes be very difficult to have patience with the friend who constantly declines our offer for support. Or conversely, when we seem to go all out in our support but feel that we gain nothing in return. We question how long can we put up with this.
We know that friend or family member is suffering with something around their mental health, but still struggle with the choices they make, or their apparent inability at this time, to engage with us the way we feel we need them to.
Perhaps the relationship has changed. Perhaps the person who you know and love seems so different, or maybe you feel you don’t know them at all anymore. At this point it can be all too easy to give up on the relationship all together. Maybe it’s just not the same, maybe you feel drained by the person, or find yourself helping them out of yet another crisis when you have enough to deal with at home.
It’s so important that we get our relational needs met properly. So if we can’t get it met with someone with whom we used to, due to a change in their mental health, then we must take responsibility and find it elsewhere.
However, in doing so, please don’t leave the other behind. Seek to learn and understand. When they push you away, give them the space they need, but don’t give up. Try again. And again. Listen when you can. Don’t judge, or perhaps more realistically, learn to acknowledge your judgements and endeavour to seek compassion in their place.
Right now you may not feel that your needs are met – but you may just be the ray of light that person needs right now, even a life line. It is probably easier not to bother, and to spend our time with people we find more easy to be with.
But lets bother. Lets go out of our way. Lets choose love instead of convenience. It may be a puddle to you, but an ocean to them – so lets cross it, lets cross oceans.